If You’ve Met Your Deductible, Consider Joint Replacement Now
As the holidays approach you may not be thinking about elective surgery, but Jan. 1 is also when many health care deductibles reset for the year. In fact, with so many people moving to high-deductible insurance plans, many surgeons and hospitals see an end-of-year rush for surgeries like a total joint replacement.
Matthew T. Hummel, MD, an affiliated surgeon with OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine who practices at St. Elizabeth Healthcare says, “It is very common to see people put off surgeries that are considered elective because of the out-of-pocket expense they have with their insurance plan. But they shouldn’t put off a joint replacement too long, as it can cause more damage to the joint which will likely make the recovery more difficult.”
When Should You Consider a Joint Replacement?
If you are even considering a joint replacement, you are probably in some pain and have loss of function in your joint. You do not need to live with joint pain.
“Many people will live with quite a bit of pain before they consider surgery. When I talk to people about joint replacement, it is about maintaining their quality of life,” says Dr. Hummel.
Signs you may be ready for a joint replacement:
- Pain with simple daily activities.
- Pain or stiffness in a joint.
- Pain that keeps you up at night or isn’t relieved by rest.
- Pain that isn’t helped by non-surgical treatment.
- Imaging studies that show the presence of advanced arthritis or joint damage.
Why You Shouldn’t Delay Surgery
Delaying a replacement can have serious repercussions. If you continue to let the arthritis deteriorate the joint you could cause more damage to your joint. You can also develop bone and tendon deformities outside a weakened joint. A loss of function in muscles surrounding the joint can also make the procedure and your recovery more difficult. It can extend the recovery by several weeks.
“You shouldn’t live with pain,” says Dr. Hummel. “Joint replacement is a relatively low-risk procedure and can give you significant gains in the quality of life and ability to do daily activities without pain.”
By scheduling your joint replacement surgery at the end of the year, in the winter months, you can dedicate time to recovery and getting stronger. Then your new joint will be ready for the spring season and outdoor activities. The full recovery for hip replacement is typically 4-6 weeks and for knee replacement 8-10 weeks.
“It is important to talk with your doctor about all of your concerns and questions about joint replacement. But most importantly, don’t live with pain. Let us help you preserve your native joint, or replace the joint when it is time,” says Dr. Hummel.
Learn more about our joint replacement options by telling us where it hurts by using our interactive pain chart. To make an appointment with one of our joint replacement experts, please call our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons from OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at (859) 301-BONE (2663).